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J Fam Psychol. 2009 Oct;23(5):626-35. doi: 10.1037/a0016228.

Therapist behavior as a predictor of black and white caregiver responsiveness in multisystemic therapy.

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California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University, San Diego, California 92131, USA.

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This study examined whether (a) therapist behaviors thought to enhance family treatment predicted caregiver in-session responses, and (b) caregiver race, racial match between caregiver and therapist, and family financial hardship moderated the relationships between therapist and caregiver behavior. Observers coded caregiver and therapist behavior during one session of multisystemic therapy for substance abusing adolescents. Therapist teaching, focusing on strengths, making reinforcing statements, problem solving, and dealing with practical family needs predicted caregiver engagement and/or positive response, regardless of race, racial match, or financial hardship. Caregiver race, financial hardship, and therapist-caregiver racial match occasionally moderated the relationship between other therapist and caregiver behaviors. Findings suggest both commonalities and differences in how therapist behavior may function to engage caregivers in family treatment, depending on diversity-related factors.

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